Scientists Provide First Large-scale Estimate of Reef Shark Losses in the Pacific Ocean

Shark!

Shark! (Photo credit: guitarfish)

First study to provide estimates of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean are sobering. Researchers noted the enormous detrimental effect that humans have on reef sharks.

Many shark populations have plummeted in the past three decades as a result of excessive harvesting — for their fins, as an incidental catch of fisheries targeting other species, and in recreational fisheries. This is particularly true for oceanic species. However, until now, a lack of data prevented scientists from properly quantifying the status of Pacific reef sharks at a large geographic scale.

In a study published online April 27 in the journal Conservation Biology, an international team of marine scientists provide the first estimates of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean. Using underwater surveys conducted over the past decade across 46 U.S. Pacific islands and atolls, as part of NOAA’s extensive Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program the team compared reef shark numbers at reefs spanning from heavily impacted ones to those among the world’s most pristine …

Continue reading on www.sciencedaily.com

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